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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Central Bank of Egypt seen leaving interest rates on hold at 27 September 2018 meeting

**#2 Consensus is that the central bank will leave interest rates on hold this Thursday when its monetary policy committee meets, according to a Reuters poll out yesterday. Some analysts, including in Shuaa, see borrowing costs and the strength of the USD as the crucial factors at the meeting, saying concerns there will have supplanted inflation, the central bank’s traditional bête noire. “Inflation is decelerating, but emerging market exits is creating pressure to keep rates high,” said Radwa El-Swaify, head of research at Pharos Securities Brokerage. The global macro backdrop (read: Emerging Markets Zombie Apocalypse) most likely means the MPC will keep rates where they are to preserve Egypt’s competitiveness in the battle for hot money amid a sell-off in EM assets.

But could leaving where they are come at too-high a cost? The move would “send an unneeded message of weakness, and will not be enough to revert outflows, but will punish domestic activity and delay prospects of easing,” CI Capital’s Hany Farahat said.

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